Upside down

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XVI

The next day right after lunch, Damon knocks on Chris’s door. He is going to go over some things, discuss the day he had yesterday.

When Damon opens the door, he sees how Christopher is smoking a cigarette with his feet up on his desk.

“Hey Damon,” Chris turns when Damon opens the door and smiles. “Come in, want a smoke?”

“I prefer my cigars, if you don’t mind.” Damon closes the door and takes a seat.

“Sure, go ahead,” Chris slides the ashtray to the middle of his desk so Damon can reach it. Damon takes out his cigars and lights one.

Someone knocks on the door and Fredric comes in. “Sorry, am I interrupting something?”

Chris looks at Damon for a second, who shrugs. “What do you need? We’re just enjoying a smoke and each other’s company for now. Want to join?”

Fredric closes the door behind him and takes his seat next to Damon. “Sure. I didn’t really need anything, just wanted to ask if I could be of any use.”

Damon inhales deeply, then offers Fredric one of his little cigars. “You can keep us company,” he suggests.

Fredric smiles gratefully as he puffs out some smoke, making perfect rings. “It’s been a long time since I last smoked. Brings back a lot of memories.” He points at Chris, “especially about your mom, I used to smoke after you-know-what, she hated it when I did that.” He smiles widely, a watery twinkle appears in his eyes.

“After I’ve eaten I always find the need to have a smoke,” Chris smiles, “it makes me calm and I don’t know, it’s something I really enjoy.” He laughs, “just don’t tell Jolena, she thinks I quit.”

Damon smirks and blows some smoke in the air, “I can relate to that. I find smoking very relaxing. I feel the need to smoke more often lately.”

Chris looks up, “does that mean that you’re also more stressed lately?”

Damon sighs. “I must admit that I’ve felt better before, especially emotionally. I am dealing with some personal problems and I don’t feel good about it.”

Chris frowns. “You can always come to me if you want to vent. Or if you feel more comfortable with my father here, or my brother Nick, you’re free to talk to us about your problems.” Fredric nods agreeingly.

“Thank you, I appreciate that.”

Chris nods. “Don’t keep it in, you’ll be a ticking time bomb. Before you know it, you explode and hurt the people you love most by doing so.”

Damon sighs again and wipes away some loose strands of hair. When that doesn’t help, he pulls the band holding his hair together, out and shakes it out. Chris looks at him amazed. “Wow, you’ve got some long manes there. Amazing.”

Damon quickly pulls his hair back into a tail and smirks. “Yeah, took me a long time to get it this long. I’ve had a lot of arguments about it. My father hates it, he doesn’t think it’s a suitable haircut for an Alpha. It makes me look too savage or something.”

Chris laughs, “well, I couldn’t care less. It suits you well. It adds to the dark and mysterious aura that hangs around you.”

Damon doesn’t laugh. “The darkness is coming out.”

Chris frowns, “what do you mean?”

“The darkness inside, the dark feelings I’ve been having lately are showing on the outside.”

Now Fredric frowns too. “I’ve got the feeling you are keeping a lot of things in. You’re carrying a heavy burden with you. Talk Damon, it will help.” He leans over and rubs Damons shoulder in a comforting way. “I’ve had quite some demons to battle after being imprisoned for years. I know how hard it can be to trust people, to let them in, but you have to know that you are safe. Your problems are safe here, we won’t judge you, we’ll only listen and maybe help you.”

Damon leans forward, the burden he is carrying is weighing heavier and heavier. His breathing starts getting laboured.

“Easy son,” Fredric crouches in front of him when he notices Damon’s laboured breaths. “Deep breaths, in and out, slowly.” He places his hands on Damon’s shoulders. Tears start to escape from his eyes. “Let it out, it’s alright, you’re safe. We will take care of you.” His voice is soft, soothing.

“I- I can’t-” Damon shakes his head as he hiccups, something is blocking him. “I want to tell you, but I can’t. I need time.”

Damon looks up in surprise as he feels a comforting wave through his body. His breathing eases down, his crying stops and his thoughts are clearing again. “What was that? You had me calmed within seconds.”

Fredric smirks a little. “Something I’ve learned to do in my time as Alpha, something like a secret trait. Feel better?”

Damon nods and he looks at the friendly face of Fredric. A glass with golden liquid appears into view. “Here, drink this. It’ll settle your nerves some more.” Christopher says.

Damon takes the glass and takes a big sip. He lets the fluid burn in his mouth before swallowing it.

“When you’re ready to talk, come to us, alright? And if you feel that you’re going to explode like right now, come and find us. We’re here for you.” Fredric looks at him intently. Chris still stands at his side and pats his shoulder.

Damon nods. “Thank you guys.”

“Will you be able to take over from me?” Chris looks concerned.

“I think so. It’ll keep my mind off of things.”

Chris turns, but suddenly freezes halfway. “Damon?” Damon looks up, “what is that?” Chris reaches for his neck and reveals Damons mark. “Have you mated someone from my pack and didn’t let me know?” Chris smirks. “Have you mated right under my nose and kept it a secret from me? Who is it?”

Damon blushes lightly and avoids eye contact. “I, err, she-” he sighs, “I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know? Sure you know who you’re mated to, no?” Fredric smiles amusedly.

“I only know that her name is Sasha.” Damon shrugs.

“What?” Chris and Fredric gape at him. “How do you not know anything about your mate?”

“I left before I could talk to her.” Damon now blushes even more. “I chickened out.”

Chris laughs loudly. Then his smile fades when he sees that Damon is deadly serious. “Why did you leave? Or why didn’t you bring her here?”

Damon shrugs. He is not ready to tell yet.

“Unbelievable. You have to go to her. You have to strengthen the bond. You’ll hurt her if you stay away.” Chris looks concerned.

“Damon,” Frederic looks concerned too. “Why did you leave her?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“It’s that heavy burden again.” Fredric seems to understand and Damon nods.

“Err,” Damon hesitates a second. “It’s because of her that I couldn’t catch a rogue.”

Chris frowns, “a rogue? Where was that?”

“I was visiting the last settlement on the list you gave me.”

“Right. Was the rogue civilised? Was he behaving like any other rogue?”

Damon nods.

“I know that rogue. He is harmless. He visits uncle Billy often. Uncle Billy has taken him under his wing for quite some time. I’ve let him visit as long as he keeps the peace and so far he hasn’t let me down. Just keep an eye on him, you’ll find out yourself that he doesn’t mean any harm.”

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